Let me just preface with this: Although I talk a lot about Phil and “his” music, this is really a praise to God for creating a man who has the ability to humbly encourage people and lead them into worship. Has the ability to write words that convict the hearts of people and to eloquently praise the Lord, however this is all given to him by the Spirit. I praise the Lord for giving us great worship leaders who have the ability to do this, not the worship leaders themselves. Eventually, I’ll write a post on worship and how it is important for me (and all of us really), but for now just listen to some of my rambling of what God is doing is this really awesome dude.
I have been a Phil Wickham fan for years. I first heard True Love as a 16 year old new believer and was brought to tears immediately. The eloquence that he portrays the gospel with in that song is simply stunning and riveting to the soul. After that first encounter, I became an instant fan. You’re Beautiful, Divine Romance, Mystery, and Heaven Song are songs that particularly stand out to me that brought me nearer to God. I can remember multiple times where God brought me closer to Himself by using Phil and his music.
Although Phil has been seriously anointed by the Spirit, the humility and love that he conducts himself in is probably one of the most cool things to see. His focus is really to encourage people towards the Throne of God, not to make himself the center of attention. He is full of the Spirit and attending a “concert” of his was… Just a really cool experience that I can’t really explain or describe in words. In short, God uses the guy to reach people and pull them toward Himself.
Since becoming a fan, I’ve bought Heaven and Earth and Response. Now, Cannons being my favorite album, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with either album. H&E was a little too electronic for me and Response’s lyrics were too simple. I’m not saying either album was bad, just the majority wasn’t to my taste. However, some real gems can be found on both albums. Heaven Song and Cielo are particularly good off H&E and Sun and Moon and The Victory are serious stand outs on Response.
The Ascension is perfect harmony between all of the albums.
I hardly know where to start, but I’ll start with the music cause holy CRAP. The musicality of the album is a perfect blend between the eletronic feel of H&E and the upbeat feel of Response. It also contains some of the awesome elements we saw in Cannons like Sweet guitar rifts and pounding anthem drum beats. The instrumental music in each song really matches the lyrics. For example, in the chorus of The Ascension there’s a heavy build up and drum beat really giving the feeling of ascending beyond the clouds and into something greater. That along with the layered bass lines and guitar rifts really draws the listener “further up, further in” to God’s presence.
While having plenty of songs with quick rhythm and a sense of climbing further into the presence of God, he also has slower songs such as Mercy and Thirst that really make you stop and think about God and all He has done.
Ohhhh the lyrics. Phil has a few songs with really simple lyrics (such as Over All) that just… Work. By repeating things over and over, simple basic concepts, it makes you remember exactly how much God is above and beyond us, yet intimate with us. Of course there is a lot of songs with intense lyrical complexity (which are my favorite). Songs like Carry My Soul and Mercy really speak to me of the intimacy and love of God.
There really isn’t a song on this album that isn’t a WIN, but several songs really stand out to me.
The Ascension — As I mentioned above, this song is just… Epic. It’s a strong way to start off the album with it’s heavy beats and fast tempo.
Carry My Soul — The amount of personal humility and surrender in this song is amazing. It reflects where I am in my life right now perfectly. The lyrics are refined, personal, complex, and so, so meaningful.
Over All — This song really just draws you into WORSHIP. It’s VERY simple, but the awesome drum beats and almost… Heavenly-vibe of the song just draws you in.
Mercy — Ohhhh this song. I really can’t decide whether this song or Carry My Soul are my favorite off the record. This is basically a story of the bible told through the eyes of man, then through Jesus, and then through us. It’s beautiful in it’s heartbreaking earnest plea and simplicity. But that’s what the Bible is: earnest and simple, in many ways.
Basically, this is the best album since Cannons. It’s just amazing and I want to listen to it non-stop for days. Much like Phil intended, it draws listeners into the courts of God and into earnest worship. I am so thankful for the gift of this album and the music.
Dang Spirit, you did some dang good stuff through this guy.